It may be blasphemous to cheer for an increase in US gas prices, but the recent hike at the pump couldn't have come soon enough for makers of hybrids, plug-ins and diesels. That's because hybrid sales continue to fall behind last year's figures, while plug-in sales are barely edging ahead.

In February, green-car sales fell 8.9 percent from 2014 to about 36,000 units, while plug-in vehicle sales were up 5.8 percent to almost 7,200 units. Take out Tesla Motors' estimated 57 percent increase in Model S sales (a rough estimate given the most recently available Tesla figures on North American deliveries), and plug-in sales would've also declined.

Toyota, which at least seemed to get itself on even footing in January, took backwards strides last month, as its green-car sales fell 7.2 percent to almost 17,700 units. Sales among the four Prius variants fell 6.6 percent (sales of the Plug-in Hybrid version plunged 62 percent), while Camry Hybrid sales dropped 16 percent. Lexus hybrid sales fell 15 percent.

Toyota fared far better than US automakers Ford and General Motors. Ford's green-car sales dropped 26 percent from a year earlier to about 5,000 units, as both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of both the Fusion and C-Max had fewer sales this year.

GM's green-car sales plunged 34 percent to just 1,751 units last month. Most notably, sales of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in dropped 43 percent to 693 vehicles, while Chevy Cruze Diesel sales declined 48 percent.

Even Honda and Nissan stumbled. Nissan Leaf EV sales dropped 16 percent from a year earlier to 1,198 units. Honda green-car sales declined 23 percent from a year earlier to 1,614 units, with the Accord Hybrid having a rare down month and Civic Hybrid sales declining 19 percent.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen green-car sales declined 8.5 percent from a year earlier to 4,378 units, while Audi diesel sales dropped 21 percent to 825 vehicles.

Through the first two months of the year, green-car sales were down 7.4 percent to about 70,000 units. Plug-in sales were up 6.9 percent to 13,407 vehicles.





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